Here is the next in our weekly series of excerpts from the EBook, “6 Weeks to a Greener Lifestyle.” See the note at the end of this post for more information. — Paula
I know you have heard the terminology many times, but can you give a clear explanation about the meaning of the phrase "green lifestyle"? What does it mean to "go green"? What are the implications of "going green" on your current lifestyle?
Living a green lifestyle means focusing on using resources - energy, water, materials - more efficiently. It also means reducing waste and minimizing the negative environmental impact of your activities. The lifestyle choices you make will affect both your local environment and the global environment. You can live greener through both your consumer choices and your lifestyle choices.
Generally speaking, anyone who is trying to establish a green lifestyle will consider both the short-term and the long-term implications of their day-to-day choices. This could mean something as simple as making a concerted effort to commute in a greener way by carpooling, bicycling, or taking public transportation or it could involve planning errands so that trips by car for groceries and basic shopping needs each week are minimized in order to save gas and reduce emissions.
A green lifestyle also minimizes your carbon footprint
, a topic that will be discussed in more detail in the next chapter. Briefly, for now, your carbon footprint is the sum total of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by your activities. The fewer greenhouse gases produced by how you live and work, the smaller your carbon footprint will be.
What are the Benefits of a Green Lifestyle?
Importantly, your choices can be green and frugal or they can be wasteful and more costly. A simple example: taking a reusable bag to the grocery or market when you purchase fruits and vegetables versus using disposable plastic shopping bags for each visit reduces waste. Combining trips for errands or carpooling to get your children to school reduces your consumption of gasoline, minimizes emissions, and saves you money on transportation fuel. Shortening your showers by a few minutes each day can save 10,000 gallons of water each year - and reduce your utility bill. The lifestyle decisions and consumer choices you make will have an impact on the planet. They will also affect your "bottom line" as well. You will save money as you conserve water and reduce energy usage in and around the home-that is the very practical benefit of a greener lifestyle.
What Can You Do?
Consumers and homeowners are being encouraged to explore their options in alternative energies and living habits. Wind, geothermal, and solar power solutions are low emission energy sources, and are increasingly becoming a more viable option.
Does this mean you should make a point of rushing out to acquire all kinds of alternative energy systems for your home? Most people cannot afford to make the necessary investments for significant alternative energy generation. But, as we will show you in the chapters to come, there are many other ways to reduce the costs of heating, cooling, and supplying the home with electricity.
The most practical approach is to focus on using energy and water more efficiently. Building individual habits that accomplish this will lead to a greener lifestyle. Think about the "three Rs" of greener living:
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
In doing so, you will quickly shrink the size of your carbon footprint. And, as you will see, many of the actions you take to reduce your carbon footprint will also save you some money.
Steve Stillwater is passionate about developing a greener lifestyle, and his goal is to show you how to incorporate easy-to-implement green living ideas into your life. He blogs and writes regularly about green living ideas and provides a continuously updated green news feed on his website. For more information or to buy and download the full Ebook, “6 Weeks To A Greener Lifestyle,” just follow this link.